McDonald, Toppers ready to have some fun at Hysteria

Zach Greenwell

Head Coach Ken McDonald said he’s putting out the disclaimer now for Friday’s basketball kickoff event, Hilltopper Hysteria.

His message? Sit back and enjoy, and don’t over-critique.

“First of all, we don’t have anything in,” McDonald said Wednesday, switching quickly between brutal truth and sarcasm. “We don’t have any plays in, and even if we did, they wouldn’t run them. Our defense is terrible, I’m telling the fans right now. Take it for what it’s worth and have fun with it.”

McDonald said he’s taken a step back over the years in terms of what he tries to get out of Hysteria, which will be in Diddle Arena at 7 p.m. Friday, because he’s realized that he can drive himself crazy if he tries to analyze too much.

He said he’s always wanted to have a practice right after the event to correct the mistakes on the court. That’s not going to happen Friday, the first day teams are allowed to officially hold a practice, but he said he will sneak in some drills beforehand.

“We’re getting a couple workouts in before Hysteria, so the legs might be a little tired,” he said. “(Senior forward) Sergio’s (Kerusch) vertical might be just a little hampered.”

McDonald was referring to WKU’s annual dunk competition, an event Kerusch won two years ago. He was dethroned last season by Oklahoma transfer forward Juan Pattillo.

“Every year, different players come in and get to showcase their abilities,” Pattillo said. “Sometimes you come into a new program and not too many people may know who you are. This is a good opportunity for the team to showcase their talents and get an audience.”

Kerusch tried to win over the crowd last year by coming out to a Michael Jackson-themed introduction, complete with a single glove and Moonwalk.

Kerusch said he bounced back and forth between ideas that could top last year, and he told the Herald Tuesday that he’s finally decided on a “Transformers” theme for Friday.

“I can’t give everything away, but there’s going to be some props and dancing,” Kerusch said.

McDonald said he’s ready to pick a sleeper, freshman Brandon Peters, as the winner of this year’s dunk contest.

But then again, he said you never know what Kerusch is going to bring to the table.

“Serge has had a year to digest the loss, so who knows,” McDonald said. “He could come out in an old ABA uniform for all I know. He’s from a different planet, there’s no question.”

The fun and games end for WKU after Friday night, when the Toppers will try to improve on a 2009-2010 season that McDonald called “disappointing” Wednesday.

But until then, McDonald said there’s no problem with having a little fun while you improve.

“Even though we had some success last year, there were some very disappointing aspects of last year’s team,” McDonald said. “Not making it to the tournament, not winning some games that we should have, and not showing the fans what we were made of.

“The player energy has been great, and I think chemistry is at a good level right now. But, obviously what happens now is a lot of competition over the next three weeks.”

Tops ready to add walk-ons

McDonald said Wednesday that the coaching staff will likely hold tryouts for walk-ons over the next few days.

He said there have been several players who have been around for the duration of the summer, and that some of them will be brought into the initial practices if they pass a physical and compliance requirements.

“We’ll probably have one or two that we’re really serious about and see how they do with workouts,” McDonald said. “We’ve got some good prospects and some guys that have done what they need to do, and those guys play an important role.”